The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has certified improvements to the 512-MW Conowingo hydroelectric project in Maryland and Pennsylvania, the 742-MW Clark Fork project in Idaho and Montana, and the 2.4-MW Vergennes No. 9 project in Vermont for renewable energy production tax credits.
FERC issued an order certifying incremental hydropower generation for Conowingo (No. 405) Feb. 26. (HNN 9/18/06) Licensees Susquehanna Power Co. and PECO Energy Power Co. had requested certification of efficiency improvements from replacing the project’s Unit 5 runner and wicket gates, implementing a hydro monitoring and optimization system, and adding capacity by replacing the runner and generator stator for Units 6 and 7.
Based on information provided by the licensees, FERC certified a historical generation baseline of 1,770 gigawatt-hours, and incremental generation from four improvements ranging from .14 percent for one improvement to 2.5 percent for another. Incremental generation from all improvements total 3.74 percent.
742-MW Clark Fork
In a separate order issued Feb. 21, FERC certified incremental hydropower generation from efficiency improvements at Avista Utilities’ Clark Fork project (No. 2058) due to additional capacity that is to be placed on line by March 31. (HNN 5/8/06)
FERC certified a historical generation baseline of 3,130 GWh for the project and generation with improvements totaling 3,147 GWh. That represents incremental generation of 17,040 MWh, a .54 percent increase due to improvements.
2.4-MW Vergennes No. 9
In a third order, FERC certified incremental generation from efficiency improvements made at Green Mountain Power Corp.’s 2.4-MW Vergennes No. 9 (No. 2674). The licensee replaced two turbines at the project, on Otter Creek in Vermont, with new Francis turbines in 2005 and 2006.
One of the upgraded units was declared fully operational Feb. 1, 2006, while the other entered full operation Jan. 16. Based upon a review of information from Green Mountain Power, FERC issued an order Feb. 27 certifying incremental generation of 2.388 MWh against a historical generation baseline of 10.359 MWh. FERC said improvements made to the two units increased project generation by about 23 percent.
Section 1301 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 applies the tax credit to incremental production gains from efficiency improvements or capacity additions to existing hydroelectric facilities placed into service after Aug. 8, 2005, and before Jan. 1, 2009. (HNN 2/26/07) The section requires FERC to certify historic average annual hydropower production and percentage of average annual hydropower production at a facility attributable to the efficiency improvements or additions to capacity.